BRAVE CF’s schedule for the year is kicking off in Europe this weekend as the company looks to increase its presence on the continent.
Slovenia plays host to BRAVE CF 34 on Sunday evening and the card features some recognisable international names as well as established local talent. It marks the eighteenth different country the organisation has visited in its approximate three year history which has given weight to BRAVE CF’s claim that they are ‘the only true global MMA organisation.’ Slovenia will be the fourth region in Europe to hold an event following their previous visits to Northern Ireland, England and Romania. The company’s president, Mohammed Shadid, has made it known on a number of occasions that BRAVE CF is not a promotion—it is a vision to take the sport of MMA to the next level. His long-term ambition is to bring different MMA organisations all over the world together so they can work hand-in-hand to elevate the sport’s status.
Shahid knows that this is no easy task due to the major promotions mostly working independently to serve their own self-interests. However, he thinks that BRAVE CF have made progress towards their goal year-on-year while hitting important milestones along the way. Shahid believes that 2020 may be the biggest year yet for the organisation in terms of a shift towards a different MMA landscape.
“Our first full year was 2017 and that was the year of introduction,” said Shahid. “That means we made certain fans aware of what BRAVE CF was about and we highlighted some of the talented fighters we had. The quality of our production in terms of live events was displayed and we explained that we weren’t just a middle eastern promotion.”
“The following year, 2018 was about globalisation - the first big step that MMA was waiting for. We travelled to five different continents which showcased our ambition to go into Africa as well as many other regions so the sport could be globalised. 2019 was the expansion year. We had closer relations with national federations and established big partnerships in countries which have the potential to be automatic national ecosystems of their own. The BRAVE brand branched outside of sport into different markets (nutrition, gym and drinks), we made a big effort to empower the regulatory body and introduced the inaugural KHK World Championship.”
“This coming year will be the year of change,” continued Shahid. “It’s time to make people more aware of the new system I have been preaching for the past three years. The system will be the spark that MMA needs to move from the event business to the sport business which is a big shift. 2020 will be the first step towards that change. You will also see an increased presence in the European market as I promised.”
In their most recent event, BRAVE CF displayed some promising prospects from the continent including Issa Isakov, Anzor Abdulkhozhaev and Shoaib Yousaf so it only makes sense for them to grow into the territory. Shahid also said that Europe is very important for any global sport but it needs a consistent presence and growth for it to earn respect. BRAVE CF are looking to build relationships with the right partners in each European country to empower MMA in the region. In a move which demonstrates their commitment to the market, the organisation have already announced they will be making their debut in Sweden during April.
As was the case with their last European show in Romania, BRAVE CF are working with another local MMA organisation, WFC, for their event on Sunday evening. Shahid explained that when his company enter different countries, they always look to make partnerships with different organisations to bring the MMA community together. The local promotions and federations participate in developing the sport while BRAVE CF bring the international value and global opportunity. With these two factors combined, Shahid believes it is the perfect recipe for success.
“WFC are a successful promotion in Slovenia and they are the biggest MMA organisation in the country,” explained Shahid. “Their vision is very similar to BRAVE CF’s. WFC are looking to take Slovenian MMA to new heights so it’s a no brainer that we partner with them to make that happen. Like I’ve said before, a sport is too big for one entity to manage. MMA today only has events which aren’t that big in the whole sports landscape so we need to change that. We need loyal and honest partners who want to turn MMA into a sports business model.”
“In terms of the show on Sunday, there are a few fights that I can’t wait for,” continued Shahid. “The 2016 sambo world champion and former ACB titleholder, Velimurad Alkhasov, is taking on FILA grappling world champion and former Bellator titleholder, Zach Makovsky. That’s going to be a showdown between sambo and wrestling so high-level grappling will be on display. The winner could emerge as a title contender.”
“To add to this, top wrestler, Phil Hawes, is facing BJJ specialist, Iuri Fraga, in a pivotal match for the middleweight division. Hawes will make a big statement for title contendership if he can get his hand raised. Also, the Frenchman, Benoit Saint Denis, is one of the top prospects to watch out for and he is fighting a veteran with lots of experience. It’s going to be a fun start to 2020 for BRAVE CF. We are going to have a huge year with some big, global fights being planned!”
BRAVE CF takes place at 5pm GMT for fans in the UK on Sunday evening and can be viewed at FITE TV. Viewers in the US can also tune in from 12pmET/11amC.